I am in a rut of sorts, a rut of the less-than-glamorous parts of gardening: cleaning tools and removing wild onions. I am sure no one walks around the garden these past few weeks saying, ‘Look what that gardener has done!’ Still, I do enjoy this time of year in the garden and what it entails. I like getting the garden in order, its spring cleaning time, time to rid the grounds of weeds (where I can), remove excess foliage and prep the containers for spring planting. My goal, and perhaps this year I will meet it, is to have all the garden beds and containers prepared so when we do get the green light from Mother Nature to plant, I am ready to go.
Right now I am pulling out the containers from their winter storage in the little stone cottage and cleaning them. It is sorta like Christmas since I forget what all I have tucked away for winter storage. I clean the pots thoroughly: scrubbing them with a soft brush, removing soil, old roots that are stuck to the container walls and scraping off any minerals that may have built up around the drainage holes. I never use harsh chemicals that will harm the plants. If a container has a large drainage hole, I add a bit of window screening to the bottom of the container to prevent soil from running out, but will still allow the water to drain freely.
I may even fill the containers, partway with fresh potting soil, getting them as ready as I can for the new plants. If you place pots around your garden, now is a good time to experiment with design, deciding which containers go where and then, once you have settled on their placement:
- take note of the amount of sun the containers will receive and the amount of rain they will get – is there an overhang or large tree to block the rain?
- if the pots will need supplemental watering, will you be able to access the pots easily with a watering wand or will you have to cut through the garden?
- And of course, make a plant list based on the design and site condition of each container.